A growing chorus of calls to move Confederate memorials out of public squares and into museums or graveyards is beginning to impact local city councils all across the state of Virginia. But due to a 1950’s era piece of State Code, it’s not as easy as simply allocating a budget for removal.
In Norfolk, a petition pushing for the relocation of a 50 foot tall spire topped by a statue of “Johnny Reb” has at this time of writing collected over a thousand signatures and is gaining more by the hour. Public protests are popping up all over the state, but while protests and petitions are effective methods of maintaining pressure on both local and state government to address the issue and serve to keep the conversation topical? Actually moving these remnants of the days when slavery was remembered fondly in the South will require a more specific push on the State Legislature to change Virginia’s law.
If you’re in favor of this action, you’ll want to identify your state representatives (click here to search for yours) and calling their office to express that you support amending Title 15.2, Chapter 18 which in part reads as follows:
… it shall be unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with any monuments or memorials so erected, or to prevent its citizens from taking proper measures and exercising proper means for the protection, preservation and care of same. …
Phone calls are preferable to email or social media comments unless you are in a position to visit your rep’s office in person. Voice to voice or face to face communication has been universally acknowledged by legislators to be far more persuasive than electronic communication.
Effective tactics include communicating clearly, in a polite but firm manner urging that the Code be rewritten to allow the localities in which these monuments reside the ability to decide their fate.